THE power problems in the Zaailaagte area are nothing new.
Residents of the area have been dealing with power outages and electrical issues for many years. Their plight was, however, recently brought to light in the wake of the electrical sabotage that left many parts of AbaQulusi in the dark and led to the subsequent emergency meeting with AbaQulusi mayor, Cllr Jerry Sibiya, in council chambers last Monday.
At the meeting, which saw numerous residents of the Zaailaagte area in attendance, largely due to the community’s despondence with the situation, several issues were raised by the gallery and noted by Mayor Sibiya.
One of these issues, raised by Pieter Fourie, who resides on a plot in the Zaailaagte area, was that of a faulty transformer.
The poles that house the outdated transformer, which has been supplying power to the area since approximately 1975, according to Mr Fourie, were damaged in the ferocious blaze that tore mercilessly through the farming region last year on August 22. Mr Fourie asserts that he reported the damage to the municipality on August 23, 2017 when he discovered that one of the poles was severely damaged. Nothing happened…
On August 26 of this year, almost exactly one year later, the second pole broke, leaving the transformer hanging precariously from its post. Mr Fourie reported this to the municipality and it was eventually repaired. Although, the result of this repair left many questioning the competence of whoever had been tasked with this fairly straightforward assignment.
Mr Fourie forwarded photos of the ‘repaired’ poles to us at the Vryheid Herald after sharing his grievances about the matter with Mayor Sibiya and was happy to report that, on September 6, a few days after the meeting in council chambers, the poles had been replaced.
A happy ending then? No, not quite…
Mr Fourie claims that he has been battling for over a year to get the municipality to come out and test the transformer as he states that it is worn and needs to be replaced.
“It is a 1975 transformer,” he points out. “It doesn’t perform at max, so my electricity bill is sky high and I have to replace brushes on my tools on a monthly basis,” adds Fourie, a metalworker who manufactures trailers and needs a reliable power source to his workshop.
“The transformer supplies power to three houses on that line and the workshop. It’s just not adequate for that demand…”
Fourie reports that the power was off again on Saturday, but feels that the response time is quicker when they report Zaailaagte’s commonly occurring power outages as they now have a direct line.
“That 0800 number is useless,” he says. “You never get through…”
In the meantime, as residents of the Zaailaagte and Eensgevonden areas work around their unreliable power supply, it is believed that AbaQulusi Municipality is still looking for the fault in the line at Zaailaagte and they haven’t found it yet.